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March 24, 2012
Kieron Pollard has described his match-winning century in St Lucia as "a delight" after West Indies took an unbeatable 2-1 lead over Australia. The visitors can level the series with victory in the fifth match on Sunday but should West Indies take the game it will be their first series win over Australia since 1995, and they would jump ahead of New Zealand into seventh place on the ICC rankings.
West Indies have found themselves in such a good position thanks to Pollard's 102 from 70 balls, a fine innings considering he came in at No. 6, in the 26th over. Pollard made his one-day international debut five years ago but this was just his second ODI century, his first having come against India in Chennai in December 2011.
"Today I told everyone I would look to bat through [to the end of innings] and look to put the team in a winning position," Pollard said. "It didn't happen in the game before when we ended with a tie, but it happened today. We played well and we deserve this victory.
"I've been around for a little while now but I would say I'm still learning. Getting my second hundred for West Indies and my first in the Caribbean is a delight for me and for the team. It is a stepping stone for me. Each game, each performance, is a learning experience and this is one that I will take forward with me - batting for the team and being there until the end.
"Getting 294 today was a huge plus. We had them in a position where they had to be going at over five runs per over, close to six, and that was always going to be difficult. We kept getting wickets at the right time and that kept them under pressure."
Australia's captain Shane Watson said Pollard had batted exceptionally well but Australia also helped him with poor bowling and three missed opportunities in the field. In reply, Australia could not find a big score from any of their top-order players and the chase faded out despite half-centuries from David Hussey and Brett Lee.
"There was definitely a bit of individual brilliance from Kieron Pollard, there's no doubt about that," Watson said. "His striking was very impressive. But there's no doubt it's not good enough for us. We didn't execute enough, didn't go to the plan to be able to make sure we're able to try and restrict him as much as we could.
"It's a small ground so with his power it's always keeping him in the game but dropping him three times certainly didn't help, as well as our execution in the last ten overs or so. We've got to sit down and make sure we get it right for the next game because we can't afford to be in the position that we were and then let Kieron get away the way we did. In the end it meant we were chasing a much bigger total than we should have been."
The result has given West Indies a fine opportunity to secure their first one-day series win over anyone but Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and the Associates in four years. Pollard said the fight shown by the hosts had been impressive.
"The Australians have come pretty hard at us, but one good thing is that we have not backed down," Pollard said. "Every time they come at us we hit right back at them. The fans and the public are behind us, backing us, and when we show that we are not going to back down, no matter what, it shows that we have a strength in the team, a belief in ourselves and what we can do.
"A series win against a higher ranked team like Australia would be great, not only for the players, but also for the fans who come out and support us. Hopefully on Sunday we can go out there and do the job for each and every one of them. Their support means a lot to us."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Brydon Coverdale
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